City settles lawsuit with former police secretary for $587K

The City of Mountlake Terrace has paid the former confidential secretary to its police chief and her attorneys $587,500 to settle a lawsuit alleging Assistant Chief Charles “Pete” Caw and other city officials conspired to have her fired after she gave damaging testimony in another lawsuit against the city, our online news partner The Seattle Times reported Friday.

The settlement with former police administrative secretary Martha Karl comes four years after the city paid nearly $1 million to settle the suit filed by former police Sgt. Jonathan Wender, who was fired in 2005 purportedly for dishonesty, The Times said. Wender sued and, relying heavily on the testimony of Karl and others, alleged that Caw and others actually had targeted him because he publicly favored decriminalization of marijuana.

In her suit, Karl alleged that she was transferred, demoted and then fired because of damaging testimony she provided in depositions in Wender’s lawsuit. Her suit alleged the city had violated her First Amendment protections by retaliating against her for protected speech — her sworn testimony in a civil trial.

You can read the complete Seattle Times story here.

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